Catechized Fil-Am siblings pick favorite saints

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MANILA, Nov. 1, 2012—Part of the preparation for the sacrament of confirmation in the United States is choosing a confirmation saint, said homeschooling mother Stef Patag, who moved to the US 26 years ago and now lives there with her husband and five children.

“Picking a confirmation saint… is required before confirmation. They can choose not to add a confirmation name to their baptismal name, but they are required to study at least one saint and report about that saint,” she explained.

Hence, the Feast of All Saints, celebrated annually on November 1, is more than just one of many days in the Christian calendar for Patag and her family; each of the brood – save for the youngest, who at 3 years old is yet to appreciate the significance of devotion to the holy men and women in heaven – has a special affinity to a particular saint, owing to the sacrament of confirmation.

Paco, the second in the brood, chose “Josemaria” for his confirmation name specifically for Joseph and Mary “and the reason was because they are the two greatest saints in the Roman Catholic Church and I just thought that taking them as my patrons, I couldn’t do any better.”

“St. Joseph is really just the most incredible imperfect role-model in the history of the Church. He was the perfect example of how Man should act in relation to God, in his absolute trust, in his care for Our Lady and Jesus, in his willingness to take action when necessary, in the way that he never sought out the spotlight,” the 16-year-old explained.

“He was the quintessential man, and that is really what’s coolest to me. He was in complete control of himself, and was always willing to sacrifice everything for those in his care, which is something that I really admire,” he said.

Paco referred to Mary as “awesome” and said that he has always felt drawn to her though unable to pinpoint just what it is that has led him to count her as his other favorite saint apart from Joseph.

“Hence my confirmation name of Josemaria,” he explained.

Paco’s siblings turned out to appreciate the lives of some saints, drawn to particular ones for different reasons.  His 13-year-old brother, Migi, holds St. Benedict as his favorite “because he followed his motto of ‘pray and work’ throughout his life and he taught others to follow his rule. What I think is great about him is he was able to keep himself attuned to God’s wishes while still in touch with the world. He also beat up the devil. And with God’s help he brought someone back from the dead (the monk)! And he started western monasticism.”

The eldest of the brood points to St. Elizabeth of Hungary as her favorite for not being a “typical saint.”

“When people think of holy men and women, they usually think of nuns and priests, and St. Elizabeth was a) married, b) forced to be married for purposes of an alliance, and c) forced to be married outside of her own country in a place where nobody really likes her. She pretty much had nothing going for her. But she was totally happy,” Aisa explained, adding that the saint believed that everything she had been given was there for a reason and that she was serving God by accepting the marriage, being a good wife to her husband and helping him live out his faith “in spite of everything.”

“She was a model for people who are attracted to the marriage vocation, while at the same time she practiced very severe disciplines that mirrored the disciplines of nuns and priests, like renouncing everything,” the 21-year-old added.

Ten-year-old Yena explained her choice of St. Therese as her favorite saint: “She did lots of sacrifices for Jesus and later on she became a nun, and she taught what she called her ‘Little Way’ to others. And when she died, she sent down a shower of roses, and I love roses.” (CBCP for Life)

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